Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Are you a fan of those love stories where there is a happy ending, all the conflict resolved, and no one, aside from the villains who deserved such spite, were harmed? If so then you are probably also a fan of Disney movies, but this is beside the point. Jane Eyre is the book for you. It has a doting, conservative woman who knows her place and where true love is the cure-all panacea to your problems; you figure it may be gold but nope. Love.

The plot revolves around a woman named Jane Eyre (shocking). She came from an abusive family who sent her off to a crappy boarding school. Growing up to become a governess she leaves her awful adoptive family to make her own income with a man named Mr. Rochester; a rich, handsome, independent man whom I found to be rather hard and assuming but Jane found to be lovely. Regardless, the two awkwardly fall in love. They were scheduled to be married yet on the day of their wedding it is found that Mr. Rochester already has a wife still living, that crazy lady in the attic. So marriage being impossible, lest they offend God, Jane leaves Mr. Rochester to strike out on her own once more. After an interval of several months she returns to Mr. Rochester after she learns of the death of the first wife. They embrace one another, fall in love again, and marry. All live happily ever after. The end.

The story telling is straightforward- first person, this is what happened and this is what I thought. Coupled with the simple thesis of a woman finding her place in the world, yet confined to simplistic occupations (teacher, nurse, etc.) the narratology never becomes obtuse or even convoluted. Anyone should be able to read without becoming confused as to who is speaking or what is happening. C follows B just as it is reliant on A. This is why the writing is easy to follow: though it adheres to the epoch standard, language and formality which would only be rarely used today, the paragraphs form a cohesive whole with any new material always introduced as part of the chapter thesis; each chapter builds upon the previous but there comes a point in the story where you have all of the essential building blocks. In short: do not expect huge amounts of literary references, dense allusions to history, or radical departures. All is on the up and up.

By conventional standards this plot is nothing special. You can turn on the television or pop in any movie and find the exact same story repeated literally thousands upon thousands of times. However, applying this criticism to the book which inspired many of the copy-cats would be dishonest: written during the Mid-Victorian era England, Jane Eyre was original for its romanticized outlook on human relations and love; marriage is the endgame. Furthermore, marriage is not the realist marriage done by two people to continue a family or simply because of arrangement. Rather it is an honest expression of affection, something akin to contemporary melodramatic plots popularized by Disney and other pop-culture magnates. Placing the book within the time-frame it was anyone is struck by its genre defining creed.

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